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Collection Inventory


Box 1
Folder 1 James Wilkinson to Manuel Gayoso, March 26, 1790

Written from Lexington, Kentucky, and presumably going to Natchez, this is a letter of introduction for John Coburn to Manuel Gayoso, the governor of the District of Natchez. Wilkinson states Coburn is superior to any adventurer who has gone down the Ohio that season.

Folder 2 James Wilkinson to Samuel Hodgdon, March 9, 1792

Wilkinson writes a very short note from Fort Washington to Hodgdon concerning letters relating to "public business of importance" addressed to Col. Spencer and Capt. Gano. The letters are not part of this collection.

Folder 3 James Wilkinson to Samuel H. Smith, April 25, 1806

This is a document titled Pro Bono Publico [for the public good], written by Wilkinson in St. Louis to expose the duplicity of Judge Lucas. It is a testimony of what has been said by the judge about the state of America, her relationship with France and about the clause in an Act of Congress about land titles. Wilkinson states that he will claim authorship of the document if it is publicized or if Judge Lucas inquires.

Folder 4 Samuel Hammond to James Wilkinson, June 1, 1806

Hammond writes from St. Louis to request Wilkinson's approval for the formation of a military corps. He also requests permission to commission officers in order to "quell the apprehensions of the inhabitants" and to protect the town and District of St. Louis.

Folder 5 James Wilkinson to Samuel H. Smith, June 4, 1806

In this letter, Wilkinson comments on the character of Judge Lucas, Col. Meiggs, and Col. Hammond. He also discusses a murder case involving Hammond's nephew.

Folder 6 James Wilkinson to Samuel Hammond, June 8, 1806

This official letter from St. Louis, not in Wilkinson's hand, denies the formation of the corps requested in Col. Hammond's letter of June 1. Wilkinson reasons that, as more than half of the people on the list are not citizens, the group was formed without the sanction of law and his approbation.

Folder 7 James Wilkinson to Henry Dearborn, June 10, 1806

[The end of the letter states that it is an extract of a letter to the Department of War, presumably to the Secretary of War, Henry Dearborn.] In the letter, Wilkinson discusses the meeting of an association headed by Hammond's nephew and a refugee from Canada, which, he writes, was formed for sinister purposes. He remarks that Hammond was aware of these purposes. Additionally, Wilkinson relays that rumors have spread regarding plans for Hammond to replace him as governor in three weeks time. The letter concludes with a note that the troops are in good health but their "numbers are insufficient for the claims and calls of the services, at a point so remote and exposed and embracing such extensive Indian relations."

Folder 8 James Wilkinson to [Samuel H. Smith], June 10, 1806

Written from St. Louis, Wilkinson confides that he has of late withdrawn from the public eye, and writes of the recent activities of Lucas and his associates. He refers to their attack on a Mr. Donaldson and sends enclosures to be published in an attempt to vindicate Donaldson [the whereabouts of the enclosures are unknown]. Of the recent Zebulon Pike exploration, Wilkinson conveys that he is in possession of Pike's chart of the Mississippi. He includes a brief description of Pike's journey, stating that the chart and Pike's river journal are prepared for the president, but are too bulky to be mailed.

Folder 9 James Wilkinson to Henry Dearborn, June 16, 1806

In this letter, [signed by, but not written in Wilkinson's hand] Wilkinson discusses leaving St. Louis for Fort Adams in order to execute the instructions of the president. He informs Dearborn that the troops' guns were unfit for service, and several thousand stands of muskets were needed at Fort Adams. Wilkinson adds "the Mexicans fight all on horseback" and states they may need "horses to find them & sabers to meet them."

Folder 10 James Wilkinson to Samuel H. Smith, June 17, 1806

[This letter appears to be a draft, as much of it is crossed out.] Wilkinson acknowledges that rumors of his removal were true, as he has received orders to go to the Territory of Orleans and take command of their standing contingent force. He writes of the difficulty in leaving his ill wife, but does not anticipate war. Hammond's nephew and continued problems with Lucas, Hammond, Meiggs, and company are also discussed.

Folder 11 James Wilkinson to Samuel H. Smith, September 20, 1806

Written from the Rapids of Red River to Smith in Baltimore, Wilkinson remarks on the boundary dispute with the Spanish, specifically citing Simon de Herrera, commandant of the Louisiana frontier, and Governor Manuel Antonio Cordero y Bustamante.

Folder 12 James Wilkinson to Governor Cordero, September 24, 1806

This is an official letter from United States army headquarters in Natchitoches regarding the contested boundaries of Louisiana and Texas. In it, Wilkinson demands the withdrawal of the Spanish troops to the west of the Sabine River and makes it clear that Cordero's actions in response to the request will result in either peace or war.

Folder 13 James Wilkinson to Samuel H. Smith, October 5, 1806

This letter from Natchitoches contains further discussion of the boundary dispute with Spain. Wilkinson also criticizes Dearborn and says the country is approaching a crisis.

Folder 14 James Brown to James Wilkinson, October 14, 1806

Writing from New Orleans to Natchitoches, Brown remarks on personal, political, and military matters.

Folder 15 O. S. to James Wilkinson, October 30, 1806

The author discusses matters with Wilkinson concerning Governor William C. C. Claiborne and the militia in New Orleans. Also discussed are the feelings of the American people in regards to their country and potential hostilities with the Spanish. There is a note at the bottom of the letter stating, "Offered in confidence and not to be employed to Claibornes [sic] prejudice."

Folder 16 Andrew Jackson to Governor William C. C. Claiborne, November 12, 1806

This is a copy of a letter from Jackson to Claiborne. Jackson stresses the need for continued vigilance by Claiborne regarding external and internal enemies and that he must "keep a watchful eye upon our General."

Folder 17 James Wilkinson to Samuel H. Smith, November 14, 1806

Writing from Natchez, Wilkinson discusses the atmosphere in New Orleans and criticizes Claiborne. He talks about Burr, Hammond, Meiggs, and others who oppose him. Wilkinson also lists changes he would like to see instituted in the army.

Folder 18 James Wilkinson to Samuel H. Smith, December 10, 1806

In this letter from New Orleans, Wilkinson talks about Burr and his emissaries, and about the letter Claiborne received from Andrew Jackson. He also discusses the state of the region, the people and their loyalties, and about problems in Europe affecting the United States. Wilkinson remarks upon Hammond and Meiggs as well.

Folder 19 James Wilkinson to Samuel H. Smith, February 17, 1807

Wilkinson writes from New Orleans to Smith relating his displeasure with Burr, calling him a scoundrel and liar. He notes Burr's daughter claims to possess evidence of Wilkinson's part in the conspiracy. He also comments that Burr says the letter Wilkinson possesses, which is an invitation to Wilkinson to take part in an act of military treason, is fabricated. He also discusses Claiborne and the corruptness of the people in the area.

Folder 20 Harman Blennerhassett to Dr. Wallace, March 11, 1807

Writing from confinement in Natchez to Wallace in Marietta, Ohio, Blennerhassett remarks that he has not yet been hanged. He asks Wallace to collect and send his belongings to Natchez.

Folder 21 James Wilkinson to Samuel H. Smith, May 10, 1807

Wilkinson, who writes from New Orleans, discusses Burr's conspiracy trial in Richmond. He comments that he looks forward to the impending scene at Richmond with pride, even if Burr and his allies lie and forge letters. Wilkinson believes Burr's associates could aid the prosecution in their case against Burr.

Folder 22 James Wilkinson to Samuel H. Smith, June 10, 1807

This is a short letter written from Hampton to Smith in Baltimore about Burr's trial.

Folder 23 James Wilkinson to Samuel H. Smith, June 19, 1807

Wilkinson, writing from Richmond, to Smith in Baltimore, discusses his time before the Grand Jury and the trial. He contends that Burr practices acts of treachery and intrigue against him every day. He also notes that he has enclosed the letter from Jackson to Claiborne [the enclosure is located in Folder 16].

Folder 24 James Wilkinson to Samuel H. Smith, June 20, 1807

In this letter written from Richmond , to Smith in Baltimore, Wilkinson mentions the trial, which he does not believe will be finished in four months. Wilkinson relates events surrounding Burr's attempted escape before his eventual capture. He also requests Smith send him some letters from the Burgoyne Campaign as he intends to introduce a chapter of "interesting incidents that marked the campaign" into his appeal. Additionally, Wilkinson remarks he has been bored since his arrival by old friends. It is worth noting that one such friend is Light Horse Harry, otherwise known as Henry Lee III, Robert E. Lee's father.

Folder 25 James Wilkinson to Samuel H. Smith, June 24, 1807

The letter, written from Richmond and sent to Baltimore, details Burr's attempt to discredit Wilkinson's testimony and discusses the trial.

Folder 26 James Wilkinson to Samuel H. Smith, June 24, 1807

Wilkinson, writing from Richmond, relates to Smith the grand jury concluded that Burr and Blennerhassett would stand trial for misdemeanors and treason. In the letter, Wilkinson remarks that whatever the outcome, Burr will be marked as a traitor. He also mentions the number of men Burr has stationed in the city. This information was related to Wilkinson by his own spies.

Folder 27 James Wilkinson to Samuel H. Smith, June 29, 1807

This is a brief letter about Burr, and about Wilkinson's upcoming visit to Washington.

Folder 28 James Wilkinson to Samuel H. Smith, July 5, 1807

This short letter discusses the Burr trial and is written from Washington to Smith in Baltimore. Efforts to have Wilkinson brought up on charges of suspicion of treason were thrown out, with a decision coming back thirteen to three in his favor. He was also exonerated of charges that he violated the constitution.

Folder 29 James Wilkinson to Samuel H. Smith, July 8, 1807

Wilkinson notes, in this letter from Washington, his receipt of the document from the Burgoyne Campaign he had requested earlier from Smith. He reports of Burr's failed attempts to "thicken the clouds of suspicion around him." Wilkinson talks about Congress assembling, possible hostilities with the British and their expulsion from America's waters. Included are discussions of preparations for offensive and defensive measures against the British, as well as talks of an embargo against them.

Folder 30 James Wilkinson to Samuel H. Smith, July 27, 1807

Wilkinson writes from Washington to Smith in Baltimore. He remarks on the possibility of war with England and about the likelihood of men from Jamaica taking New Orleans in a coup de main. He is concerned they may also occupy other areas, and derive aid from the Creek and Choctaw Nations, and from "our over disaffected citizens."

Folder 31 James Wilkinson to Samuel H. Smith, July 30, 1807

This is a short note written by Wilkinson in Washington to Smith in Baltimore and is a cover letter for one or more documents pertaining to Burr [which are not in the collection].

Folder 32 James Morrison to Samuel H. Smith, March 30, 1808

Morrison's letter from Lexington includes a discussion of the political conditions in the state, military affairs and personal information. In a postscript, Morrison conveys his hope that Wilkinson will "come out immaculate compared with his numerous enemies."

Folder 33 James Wilkinson to Samuel H. Smith, November 2, 1808

Marked private, the letter, written in Washington, describes Wilkinson's meeting with Vice President George Clinton, in which they agreed the embargo against England should not be raised. Wilkinson relays Clinton's fears that the country is coming to a crisis.

Folder 34 James Wilkinson to Samuel H. Smith, May 2, 1809

This letter is written from New Orleans by Wilkinson to Smith in Washington and discusses current politics.

Folder 35 James Wilkinson to Samuel H. Smith, September 21, 1809

Wilkinson, in Huntstown, writes a brief note to Smith, in Baltimore, about political matters and meetings seemingly related to an upcoming election.

Folder 36 James Wilkinson to --, February 25, 1816

In Philadelphia, Wilkinson comments on family matters concerning his grandfather, and discusses the presidential election. A postscript notes his plan to leave in August to become a planter of sugar and cotton on the Mississippi.

Folder 37 James Wilkinson to H. Thompson, January 14, 1818

Writing from New Orleans, Wilkinson describes a long illness he recently suffered, one that spread throughout Norfolk, Charleston, and New Orleans. He writes of family matters and notes that he has had to borrow money. Wilkinson also discusses national and international events, commenting on the Spanish, Indians, world politics, the power of the president, and the United States military.